Creating great B2B SaaS content is tough. It’s difficult to come up with ideas and eventually, if you’ve been doing this long enough you’ll start to feel as though you have “run of things to write about”.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at the exact system we used to improve an existing piece of content rather than create a new one. It’s hard to admit but in most cases, your content needs updating because it’s simply boring. What used to be interesting in 2012 probably isn’t revolutionary in 2018.
One of the main reasons why you should improve an existing piece of content rather than create a brand new one is because the content you’ve already produced might already be getting some sort of traction.
One of our clients, Prisync has a lot of content on their site and in a bid to improve our SEO efforts and show Google that we’re actively looking to update our website with fresh content, we decided to update existing content that already gets a bit of traffic, but could do better.
We used Google analytics (which is free) to help choose the best content to improve. Note, you don’t want to improve all your content. That could very well end up being a waste of time. You want to choose posts that have potential to do well.
In the example above you’ll see that in the last year, we’ve generated 81 sessions on this blog post.
That’s not a lot compared to some of our more successful blog posts.
Bu the thing is, this piece of content was written in 2015. So many things have changed since then so it was definitely due to an update.
Let’s look at the exact steps we took to improve this content and skip to the end if you want to see the results.
Think about the goal
The first step was to think about the goal. We know we didn’t want to mess with the URL or title too much simply because we didn’t want to harm our SEO.
This particular piece of content is meant to show people the various different e-commerce forums that exist on the web.
However, the original post only had five.
Now if you’re looking for an exhaustive list, that’s just not enough to look through.
We wanted people to feel as though we’d covered all their options by the time they’d finished reading the post.
We also wanted to provide them with enough information about each forum so they didn’t have to seek the info out elsewhere.
So many times these list-type article focus only on the good things about each tool/feature/etc.
We wanted to use this blog post to provide our audience with a real, honest approach as to what e-commerce forums were out there and which ones they should consider joining, dependent on their e-commerce goals.
So we set to work.
Add new forums to the list
The first step was to source new forums we could use. We took our initial number of five and increased that to 29.
We made a point of adding important details like the Alexa Global Rank to help show people how important these forums are in terms of the internet.
We also wanted to add the main operating country.
At Prisync we have a range of customers from around the globe so we didn’t want to alienate anyone who was looking for a more region-specific forum.
The next step was to improve the readability of the post.
We wanted to make sure anyone could easily jump in and skim through the blog post to find the forum they were looking for.
We did this by following a very strict format:
- Alexa Ranking
- Screenshot of forum
- Short description
This way, both Google and our readers would easily know what they were reading and why.
Add more words
Before we improved the blog post, it only had 656 words. Thinking back to our new goal of the content, it’s difficult to imagine an ultimate resource only having 656 words, so we knew that we needed to increase the word count with useful valuable content (as opposed to simply just filler).
The updated post was over 3000 words.
However, if you are looking to increase your word count, be sure to only add valuable information.
At the end of the day, a 500-word post packed full of value will always be better than a waffle-y 4000-word post that doesn’t get around to actually saying much.
Find promotional methods right away
Before we began to write the content for the post, we started to think about how we would promote it. Now we have a system at Prisync, we’ll send the article to our newsletter readers, we’ll share it on Twitter and Linkedin. Generally, this generates decent traffic as our readers enjoy our content.
But remember this post was published in 2015 and only generated 85 views.
I knew we needed to think heavily about promotion as a blog post that no one reads is as useful as no blog post at all.
My first tactic to was to head to Quora. Quora is great because you can answer questions people have genuinely asked. The better targeted and valuable your answer, the more people are going to click through to your website.
In the end, I answered a wide range of Quora questions. If you do attempt Quora as a promotion strategy for your content, make sure you don’t just spam the sites.
I’m a great believer that your network is your net-worth and so when I produce a piece of content I’m proud of, I reach out to people within my network to see if they’d be open to sharing it.
The good thing is that I surround myself with people who I not only admire but appreciate they have similar audiences to me.
So when they too find value in my content, they’re happy to show their support. You should keep in mind, however, that building relationships takes time. You shouldn’t approach it as “I want to get shares” but instead “how can I build meaningful relationships with people in my niche.” When you do, the shares will speak for themselves.
Whether you want to believe it or not, people like when they’re spoken about in a positive way. They appreciate the idea that someone has gone out of their way to say something nice about them. It’s one of the many reasons people like getting backlinks (and also the SEO benefits that come with it).
But often, people don’t check their backlinks and so if you do want to promote your content (and link to useful valuable sources, reach out to those people to let them know. I chose to do this via Twitter.
Thanks, Bigcommerce for the follow!
And the results?
If you’ve got this far, I’m sure you’re interested in seeing the results of our test. Just a few days after editing the post we went from not showing up in the SERPs to appearing on page 1.
Not only that but remember our traffic from before? A measly 81 sessions. Well, now, after a week we’re looking at the following:
To recap, if you’re looking into improving existing content, try the following steps:
- Identify content that already ranks on Google, but should be performing much better
- Think about what the goal of the content is and how far your current version is
- Plan your promotional strategies in advance
- Improve the damn content
- Promote it like there’s no tomorrow
- Watch the traffic come in!
Improving existing content final thoughts
I’m not sure I could attribute the success of the improvements down to one tactic alone, but a culmination of them all.
We probably all have content that could do with improving. So when you think you have nothing else to write about, look at your previous content and see what methods you could use to improve that!